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In this day and age we are constantly bombarded with advertising and marketing. It is estimated the average person sees 5000 ads per day. The result? We ignore the majority of them. The marketing message falls on deaf ears or blind eyes. Simply put, there is too much clutter out there, and to deal with it (and in order to get on with life) we simply ignore it.
The famous copywriter Gary Bencivenga said the secret to advertising can be summed up in five words:
“Make your advertising itself valuable.”
Simple, isn’t it? Start giving to your prospects before you expect anything back. This is especially true in the realm of information marketing, but can be applied in any industry.
In information marketing there are times where the end result is moving people towards some end goal. That end goal could be weight loss, making money on the Internet, learning to play the guitar etc. Your product may provide the solution to this end goal.
But each of these goals could be broken up into smaller steps or different components. And I am sure most of the end goals comprise of many other hurdles or obstacles that need to be overcome. Now ultimately your goal is to make a sale of your product/service, but if you can make your initial goals to help your customer overcome some of the obstacles, and move closer to their desired end goal for free, in the long run it will help your sales.
Yes, for free. Not only does giving away something for free (even if it’s just good information) use the law of reciprocity, which is one of Cialdini’s weapons of influence, but it also builds trust and gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge.
By giving away some great free information, it allows you to demonstrate to the reader the knowledge you have in the area, and you can show them exactly the high level of expertise you have.
If you made your free piece of information so good that it was better than most paid products, do you think that would help elevate your credibility in the eyes of the potential customer? What about if you tackled and helped them overcome one of the major stumbling blocks involved in reaching their end goal, do you think they would appreciate that and be interested in what else you have to say? A big YES to both of those, and that can only help sales.
We can see these principles well demonstrated in the make money online niche, specifically Internet marketing. In my opinion, this niche has to be one of the most savvy niches around. They have really raised the bar of what the customer expects now, not only in the delivery of the end product, but also in the pre-sales area. In depth reports, great videos, and even free software are now almost standard practices of Internet marketing pre- launches.
Recently, I watched a product launch that included three videos. Each video was about 50 minutes long and the content was amazing. It was, in fact, better than most paid courses. The information in those three videos answered many doubts and questions, provided tools to overcome common obstacles, and inspired the viewer to make them feel the end goal was totally achievable.
Obviously, the main goal was to sell the main product, but that goal was so much more easily accomplished because of the initial value delivered to potential customers. It is only natural to think, “Wow! If this is the free stuff they are giving away, what must the paid product be like?” Plus it makes the transition to actually promoting your product so much easier and natural. A very covert way of marketing.
I recently had the pleasure of seeing this type of covert marketing, and it happened in the most unlikely scenario.
I was at the Noosa Food and Wine festival, and had got a seat in the auditorium to watch the cooking demonstrations. This is where world famous chefs showcase some of their signature dishes. People flock to watch it for the spectacle and expertise of cooking, not because they are going to go home and actually cook the dish.
I was particularly interested in watching one famous chef, his restaurant for many years was the top restaurant in Sydney, and has been ranked in the top ten in the world. The chef took the stage and announced that he wouldn’t be doing a demonstration of restaurant food, he wanted to demonstrate food that we could actually cook at home. Nice.
Previous chefs had whipped up impractical dishes with hard to source ingredients or using expensive cooking contraptions, it was great to have something that we could actually do. He also mentioned that he had several helpers to serve the food to us, because he wanted us to actually taste it. This was getting better and better, as usually the cooked dishes were just taken out the back.
Over the next 45 minutes the chef cooked five dishes using pre-packaged, locally available spanner crab meat. During the demonstration we were repeatedly told how easy it is to cook with spanner crab meat, and this was reinforced as we saw these dishes being whipped up in a quick smart fashion. It even had me thinking “Yeah, that doesn’t look hard, even I could do that”.
After each dish the helpers hurriedly tried to disperse the food to the masses so we could all sample the flavors of ‘spanner crab, ginger and shallots on vermicelli’ and ‘Thai chili spanner crab’. And luckily so, because the smells were so enticing and hunger inducing, I think most people were about to eat their program schedule. How often do you get to taste food from a world renown chef for free?
By the end of the demonstration, the chef had surpassed his legendary status. He was friendly and likable. He had demonstrated some practical dishes that we could cook at home, and he had even insisted we taste the dishes. I seriously thought, like most people in the room I suspect, that integrating a spanner crab meat omelette into my weekly eating regime wouldn’t be a bad idea. To top it off, the five recipes he had cooked were available in a free glossy recipe booklet at the end of the demonstration. Awesome.
I couldn’t help but notice that the recipe book was sponsored by the company that supplied the spanner crab meat. Interesting.
Then it dawned on me. Oh my goodness, we had just participated in a 45 minute advertisement for the spanner crab meat company. It was so well done, and I only noticed it because of my keen interest in marketing. I think everyone else in the room was oblivious to it.
The chef did a wonderful job of building rapport and trust with the audience. He taught us some great recipes and showed us how easy they were to cook. And if there was any doubt left, the free sample tasters put that to rest. The result, everyone not only left the room thinking they too could easily cook the perfect spanner crab meat omelette, but they actually wanted to cook it. It was a perfect covert marketing campaign.
As mentioned in previous articles you must always have your customer in mind. If you know your customer well, you will know exactly how to move them closer to their goal.
You can do this by delivering great and helpful content:
Although initially it may seem like giving all this free stuff away is counter intuitive to making sales, many marketers have learned that what they give away will come back multiplied.
Have you come across any examples or recently experienced any marketing that delivers massive value to the customer before a transaction takes place, how did it make you feel?